Why do you pray the Rosary that way?

Do you wonder why we pray the Rosary without including the Apostles Creed? Why don’t we include the traditional mysteries of the Rosary for meditation?

There are many ways to examine prayer. One important distinction is that between vocal prayer and meditative and contemplative prayer. Another distinction to made is between liturgical prayer (the official public prayer of the Church) and private devotions.

When it comes to liturgical prayer, especially the Mass, there is a set form (we call it the “rite”) that should be followed by the priest and all the other ministers. When it comes to private devotions, however, all that really matters is drawing closer to Our Lord and growing in holiness and virtue. To the extent private devotions do that, they are serving their purpose.

The Rosary is a devotional prayer (albeit one that is deeply rooted in our spiritual tradition), not a liturgical prayer, even when it is prayed by a large group of people. Now the Rosary does have its own form that has developed through the centuries, and ordinarily one does “announce” the mystery before beginning the decade. However, the overarching essence of the Rosary is that it is an exquisitely contemplative prayer, even though it is accompanied by repetitive vocal prayer. The idea is that as we say the Hail Mary we place ourselves in the company of our Mother and with her we contemplate the face of her Son in the context of the various Christian mysteries.

The mechanics of the Rosary are a tried and true means to the end of drawing closer to Jesus and Mary. St. John Paul II wrote extensively on this point in his beautiful apostolic letter (2002) on the Rosary, entitled Rosarium Virginis Mariae. Yet in that document he “audaciously” introduced the luminous mysteries of the Rosary and offered further, creative suggestions for going deeper in this beautiful contemplative, Marian devotion. He calls the Rosary a “compendium of the Gospel,” and encourages the faithful to use this devotion to contemplate the entirety of the Christian mystery.

I hear that many people, including yourself, are benefiting from Mike’s daily Rosary, which is wonderful. You are not bound to pray the Rosary that way, but if it does feed you spiritually, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to freely and without scruples continue to take advantage of this devotional tool.

Sincerely in Christ,

Leon Suprenant